This was the song playing on my iPod when I crossed the finish line of my 5K yesterday. It was oddly fitting, and I think it's the reason I got a personal record 34:51 time in the race, beating my old time by 35 seconds. You see, I haven't run an outdoor 5K race since last June... and I only run once a week. So how in the world did I get a PR???
I've come to realize that all exercise is really interconnected. It's why a lot of fitness professionals and athletes stress cross-training. My workout routine lately has been New Rules of Lifting for Women 3 times a week (with a 10-15 minute cardio warmup and 10 minute cardio cooldown), plus 2 days of cardio like an outdoor run or 45 minutes on the stairmaster. I get incredibly bored doing the same thing every day, so I have to mix it up. And it seems that has effects that goes beyond my sanity.
Strength training makes my legs stronger, so presumably I can run faster and they won't get tired as quickly. And it's good for my heart so I can increase my endurance. If only I didn't have exercise asthma that limits how long I can run without getting too winded to continue. That was my wall for this race. I ran the first 2 miles in 22:30-ish, the first mile was in 10:45 or so, which blew my mind. I NEVER run that quickly in the gym, but being a race setting really helps. I want to keep up! It was after Mile marker 2 that I had to take a walking break, and I ended up taking 2. Around 2.75 mi a girl saw me walking and encouraged me to keep going, so I started running again and kept it up until the finish line. And BAM, under 35! Whoot!
So how does all this tie into being like a man, haha. Well, strength training really goes beyond making your muscles look nice and having a toned bum. I was concerned that my lack of regular outdoor running was really going to affect my time, but somehow it's helped it! I don't look like a man with crazy muscles, but my extra strength helped me run faster. So, to help answer the debate over cardio vs. strength, you can't do one without the other! Strength helps you improve with your cardio with stronger muscles, cardio helps you have a strong heart and endurance so you can improve your strength training.
So to answer the question, has strength training made a man outta me? Nope, but I'm a pretty kick ass woman right now. I can run circles around people AND beat them up, hehe.